Can Therapy Dogs Assist in Motivating Children on the Autism Spectrum?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most widely and deeply researched topics in child development as researchers constantly look for answers into not only its cause but the best way to treat the problematic symptoms of the disorder once diagnosed.
Effects of the various types of ASD include deficits in social communication and interaction, repetitive or restricted behavior, sensory issues and cognitive delays. These traits prevent children on the spectrum from performing or completing tasks in the same timeliness or fashion as other children.
Often, in order to get children with ASD to complete tasks, a reward-based system is implemented, where the child is given a toy or some other form of reward. But the offer of a reward doesn’t always guarantee completion of the task.
One Texas Tech University researcher is part of a team taking a unique look at this system by providing access to therapy dogs as the reward, allowing students who complete certain academic tasks to spend time with the pooch, with the hope that potential interaction further motivates them to complete those tasks.
Mhean Palisok. STRN. Texas Tech Today. TTU. October 28, 2016.
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